B-TOWN BIZ: After a decade of activity, Burien’s Phoenix Tea Shop closes at the end of December

Phoenix Tea Shop recently announced that after a decade in business, they will be brewing their last kettle and shutting down their Burien store at the end of December.

Owner Virginia Wright said revenues have been reduced so much by the COVID-19 pandemic that the business has become unsustainable.

“Not being able to do tastings or effectively educate people about tea – with real tea – has been a challenge,” she said. “And like so many other businesses dependent on international trade, we have been affected by devastating and frustrating disruptions in our supply chains.”

The store will remain open until the end of December and will be open for holiday tea sales. In mid-December, they will be offering some of their personal collection furniture and tea items for sale.

They will also close online sales, as they will have no place to store their inventory. “We will be having some small special events around tea in the future, once these types of events can be safely organized,” Wright said.

Phoenix Tea was started in 2010 as an online-only tea merchant by Virginia Wright, more commonly known as “Cinnabar” within the tea community. In setting up the business, she was motivated to use what she had learned about tea in previous years to bring fine teas, teaware and other tea related products to tea lovers.

In July 2011, Brett Boynton joined Phoenix Tea after many years working at The Tea Cup in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood, and Phoenix Tea, LLC was formed. In December 2011, Phoenix Tea opened a retail store in the two-block area of ​​Olde Burien, enabling the business to meet the educational and tea-drinking needs of local customers and visitors, while continuing to providing fine and unusual teas and teaware. online to customers across the United States and beyond.

From 2011 to 2015, Phoenix Tea was under the co-management of Cinnabar and Boynton. At the end of 2015, Boynton decided to retire from the tea industry and Phoenix Tea, LLC is now wholly owned by Cinnabar.

In July 2016, after the building housing the charming and tiny retail space that housed Phoenix Tea for five years was put on the market, the company moved a few blocks east to the heart of downtown Burien. The business is now in a more spacious location with greater visibility, across from the King County Library and Farmers Market, and surrounded by a number of other great local businesses.

“I have really enjoyed running a business in Burien over the past decade and appreciate all of the wonderful client relationships I have cultivated during this time,” said Wright. “My passion for sharing the tea culture and educating people about tea led me to start the business. While that passion has not abated, it has not been possible to experience tea with people fully and safely during the pandemic, and that is unlikely to change for some time. The financial reality that led me to the inescapable decision to shut down Phoenix Tea is that revenues have not returned to pre-pandemic levels, and the numbers just aren’t sustainable. I will miss being part of this community as a business owner, but I remain actively involved in many other dynamic parts of life in Burien. “

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Phoenix Tea Shop is located at 447 SW 152nd Street in Burien:

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